United Pre-Orders a Hundred 19-Seat Electric Airplanes for 2026

Heart Aerospace, a company building a 19-seater electric airplane, has raised a $35M Series A round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, United Airlines Ventures and Mesa Air Group Inc. In addition, Heart’s seed investors EQT Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital, have participated in the round.

As part of the agreement, United and Mesa have together placed purchase orders, subject to terms, for 200 aircraft, the ES-19, with options for an additional 100 planes.

Heart Aerospace’s first aircraft is the ES-19, a nineteen passenger regional airplane driven entirely by batteries and electric motors. Heart anticipates delivering the first ES-19 for commercial use by 2026. The first-generation aircraft will have a maximum range of up to 400 km (250 miles), using today’s lithium-ion batteries. Range will increase as battery energy densities improve.

The core of the ES-19 is the electric propulsion system. In 2020, Heart demonstrated its first iteration of this electric propulsion system, consisting of a 400kW electric motor, an electric motor controller and a battery pack with an integrated BMS system – all with world-leading
performance.

There have been plenty of pre-orders of potential planes from startups. There have been pre-orders of supersonic passenger planes. Many companies have failed without delivering on planes that were pre-ordered.

Israeli Eviation had promised a nine-seat all-electric passenger plane. The first plane is to fly this year and commercial introduction is supposed to be in 2024. The commercial introduction date has slipped three years since a 2018 announcement. They have just announced an redesigned 11 seat plane.

Nextbigfuture covered Eviation in 2018.

Cape Air has ordered a few dozen Eviation planes for about $4 million each.

In 2021, Eviation Aircraft today unveiled the revised design for Alice, its all-electric 11-seat aircraft, and confirmed plans to complete FAA type certification and service entry in 2024. Further, the company said the aircraft will make its first test flight by year-end. Eviation was trying to have its first flight in 2019. Newly published design drawings reveal significant changes from an earlier prototype, with a T-tail configuration replacing a V-tail. “We moved from a V-tail to a T-tail to optimize performance and handling and make it easy and reliable for pilots to seamlessly transition to flying the aircraft,” a company spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, Alice’s two MagniX Magni650 electric motors have been relocated from the wingtips to a pylon mount on the aft fuselage. In May, MagniX delivered the first Magni650 motors to Eviation. Singapore-based Clermont Group owns the two companies.

Magnix is company making all electric airplane engines. They have converted and flown a Cessna with an all electric engine and power system.

In 2019, a De Havilland Beaver seaplane operated by Harbour Air, retrofitted with a magni500, 750-horsepower EPU, made the world’s first flight as an all-electric commercially-focused aircraft in Vancouver, Canada.

In 2020, a 208B Cessna Grand Caravan powered by a 750HP magni500 propulsion system, becomes the world’s biggest ever all-electric commercially-focused aircraft as it takes to the skies at Moses Lake, WA.

The retrofitted plane is flying but has less range than a custom-built more aerodynamic body for the Eviation. However, Eviation’s redesign only has a 400 mile range which is less than the 2018 plans. Meanwhile, Magnix is flying.

It seems like all-electric passenger planes will not be making a big impact until well past 2025 with better batteries and power systems.

Wright Working Through Better Inverter, Engines and Propulsion Technology

Wright Electric is still working with Ryan Air as customer on an all-electric passenger plane.

In 2017, Los Angeles startup Wright Electric partnered with budget airline EasyJet to build a 180-seat electric airliner to fly routes of up to 300 miles starting around 2027.

In 2021, the new plan is for the Wright 1 as a single-aisle, zero-emissions aircraft made for flights under 800 miles. It is projected to enter service for airlines in 2030.

Wright is developing megawatt-class, altitude-capable electric motors for high-performance altitude and ground-based applications.
2 MW
Up to 6x existing voltage
75% lower weight
50% smaller size
40% less heat loss
2x higher torque density

The Wright motor reduces the weight of the overall system, maximizing payload and range.

Wright works with airlines such as easyJet and VivaAerobus, and has development contracts with NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E. Wright has been funded through Y Combinator, the Clean Energy Trust, venture funds, and family offices.

Wright is attempting to grind through several technological innovations to reach an all electric large regional passenger jet.

SOURCES- Heart Aerospace, Eviation, Magnix, Wright Electric
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com